PROBLEMS OF PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHERS AND THEIR SOLUTION IN ENGLISH COURSES: EFFECTS AND BENEFITS OF ?TEACHING ENGLISH TO CHILDREN? COURSE

Abstract

Author(s): Volkan MUTLU

Teaching English to young learners is a problem because of not having English language teachers in primary schools. Because of this reason, primary school teachers have to teach English in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th grades, but they do not have the desired English level and educational background. By taking into consideration the insufficiency of English language teachers and primary school teachers’ inadequate English knowledge, this study examines the problems that these primary school teachers encountered, solutions of these issues, and the effects of how to teach English to children course on the thoughts of teacher candidates. A cross-sectional qualitative research design was used in this study in order to be able to answer the research questions and data, which is collected by using unstructured interview forms and personal letters, was analysed manually. The results of this qualitative study which has 21 primary school teachers and 24 teacher candidates as participants revealed that the most crucial problem in primary school English courses is the lack of English language teachers. Primary school teachers who got the responsibility of teaching English are not sufficient, and some of them do not teach English. They only had 3 hours basic English course in their universities, and most of them did not have any course about how to teach English so they have difficulties in English lessons. As it is impossible to appoint English language teachers to all primary schools, it is better to educate primary school teachers with in-service English courses and by adding a class about “how to teach English to children”. But most of the primary school teaching departments of the universities in Turkey do not have any courses for helping teacher candidates to understand how to teach English. Contrary to the lack of this course in the curriculums of the universities, examination of the personal letters cleared the suspicions about the benefits of the “how to teach English to children” course. Therefore, we believe that it would be beneficial to include such a course to the curriculums of all primary school teaching departments and insufficient English language knowledge of the primary school teachers can be supported by planning in-service English classes compatible with the English language lesson curriculums of the Ministry of the Education.

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